Sleep, Food, and Drink. Sometimes It's Just That Simple.
Dear Kaleid Ladies,
As we journey through the wilderness season of Lent together, we are re-reading some stories in the Bible where God’s people were in the wilderness and discovered that God was there, too.
There are many ways into the wilderness. Sometimes we go because we are led; sometimes we go because we are wandering; sometimes we go because we are afraid; sometimes we go because we’re passing from slavery to freedom and it’s the way through. Sometimes we end up in a wilderness simply because we are tired.
It’s been a long year. Today we make space for the reality that our current sense of being in the wilderness might just mean we are tired.
This Week’s Story:
Elijah’s story touches on human exhaustion as a doorway to the experience of a wilderness season.
I Kings 18 tells of Elijah’s confrontation with King Ahab on Mt. Carmel. Israel has been ravaged by a three-year drought. The scrappy prophet calls on the people to turn their hearts back to God and then calls on God to faithfully be present one more time, proving Himself by bringing fire to display power and rain to end the pain.
God does it. In spades.
In the aftermath, already way past his adrenaline allotment, Elijah outruns an angry king on a chariot who is looking to kill him, no doubt getting drenched along the way. A day after God’s epic fireworks, a drought ending storm, and Elijah’s epic run, an exhausted Elijah sits under a broom tree in the wilderness and tells God he’s through. “It is enough! Now, Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!” (I Kings 19:4)
He wants to be done-done.
He’s depressed, and all he can manage to feel is despair over his deep rooted, difficult humanity.
What comes next is blissfully simple and sweet. God’s answer to Elijah is sleep, food, and drink. God’s simple answer comes to Elijah not just once, but twice. He really needs physical restoration. This is what he needs most.
(Not to mention that the blessing of food and drink is served up both times by an Angel offering (B)room (Tree) Service. We simply could not resist the pun.)
Sometimes we are feeling the weight of the wilderness because we are tired. Emotionally tired from long, dry seasons or fiery showdowns with others. Physically tired from feeling like we’ve been outrunning a chariot for a whole year. Spiritually tired from recognizing the same patterns of our “fathers” playing out in our stories, too.
Sometimes we need sleep, food, and drink to soothe us. Sometimes we need more than one good meal, one peaceful night, or one refreshing stop at the fountain to restore us. Sometimes we need to open ourselves to receive deep physical restoration and to know it as the expression of the divine, even angelic gift of God’s nurturing nearness.
You are not a superhero. You may need to rest and eat and be restored in some specific, very human way at the end of this long, weary year. Are you open to that need? Are you open to God’s gift of care for you in physical ways?
A Wilderness Practice:
Today, would you be willing to go toward a wilderness encounter by way of Elijah’s experience with God? Set aside 15 minutes to pray with these prompts, perhaps using your journal or sitting under a favorite tree for a conversation with the Lord.
Nurturing God, I am physically, emotionally, and spiritually tired from the rigors of the last year in these ways...
Nurturing God, you look compassionately on my needy and depleted self. Please tell me what my body needs so that my soul can be revived. As I listen to you, I hear you say…
Blessings on you today as you trust God to tenderly restore you in simple, tangible ways.
The Kaleid Team
P.S. Happy St. Patrick’s Day! If you’d like to read a bit more about the Irish faith and service that 4th century St. Patrick helped to plant, you might enjoy this article on Celtic spirituality.